January 24, 2017
The EC Digest helps you keep up with all the environmental, social, 'green', and sustainability happenings in our community. Every two weeks during the academic year, look for this this little gem of digital media to arrive in your inbox!

Scroll down to learn about Environmental Center events and happeningsto explore community events and initiatives, and to see the latest  job and internship postings   focused on environmental, social justice and sustain ability . . .  and of course, read our ever-anticipated introductory musings. Ready, set, go:

Memoir of an Unemployed Ski Patroller

Every morning, I wake up to a bright flash of red and a white cross. They stare back at me from my closet, their cleanliness and crisp edges a sure sign of disuse and neglect. This is my ski patrol uniform. Most winters, this outfit travels with me on the weekends to Telluride Ski Resort, where I work managing rope lines, responding to emergency situations and mitigating avalanche hazard. This year, like so many other totems that we all associate with Winter-in-the-San-Juans, they have become irrelevant; there is no work for a ski patroller when there is no snow.

I know that we all feel this lack of precipitation in unique but acute ways: farmers that source campus dining have been ending contract negotiations with the caveat "if there is water;" our community fruit gleaning project is moving forward with "the hope there is fruit;" restaurants will open up again "when visitor numbers go back up;" my artist friends will see beauty again "when there is snow;" and my laid-off colleagues in the ski industry will be able to make rent "if there is work." No matter how you slice it, our lack of winter is painful to each of us.


According to the National Resources Conservation Service, as of 1/22/18 we are 38% of average snowpack, which provides roughly 50-80% of the water supply for the Mountain West. Whether this particular winter drought is a direct manifestation of climate change or a tale of what is to come as predicted by regional climate models will become clearer with each passing year. If we want to be honest with ourselves, though, we must recognizes that we very well may be on a trajectory where shorter winters, higher snow lines, and more erratic snowpacks are more of a norm than an anomaly.


I refuse to acquiesce to this future. I want our farmers to be successful, I want our rivers to run, I want our restaurants and ski hills to thrive, I want our junipers to turn back green and I want to be a ski patroller again. Strategists have pointed that a lack of climate action from government, private industry, and private citizens alike stems from the inability to see the problem or feel its impact on a local level. In an earlier article, I cited the Yale Climate Communications research that ties our 'climate blindness' to a gap in communication - we never actually connect-the-dots between from climate change to the environmental phenomenon we experience and the resulting societal impacts. Simply put, we need to call a spade, a spade. Yes weather changes every year, but these extremes are what modeling has foretold for some time. There is never going to be a firm line to cross - "this was the year before climate change and this was the year after" - the problem doesn't work that way. The swings in extreme winters are providing us with a very real, very tangible way to connect climate change to local weather. It is time to get loud, my friends. Lets talk with our elected officials, our bosses, our neighbors, and our families about what we are seeing. Let's look honestly about the impacts of this weather and the connections to climate change. Most importantly, how - if we start to make big changes now - we can still bring winter back to the San Juans.




Rachel Landis

Telluride Ski Patroller & Coordinator of the Environmental Center


Environmental Center and Campus HappeningsECHappenings
5th Annual Sustainability Summit! 

Featuring Dinner and Keynote Speaker, Sam Daley-Harris:
Are Silence & Shouting our Only Two Options?

In these wild times, what does sustainability look like for our social and environmental systems? The daily news can feel all doom and gloom: the environment is showing signs of distress, our communities are separating and segregating, and political institutions are marred by polarized partisanship paralysis.

So, what can average citizens like us 
do to impact these seemingly insurmountable forces? And what are we doing here at FLC to help be part of the solutions? Join the Environmental Center and Keynote Speaker, Sam Daley-Harris for an empowering evening where we challenge you to step into the power you wield! We'll provide education and strategies for ways to bold differences toward a more sustainable college, community, state, nation, and world.

The evening will also feature a sustainability primer for those new to the topic, updates on FLC's sustainability progress, the first ever Sustainability Superhero awards ceremony, and opportunities to connect with community groups working on the front lines of change-making action. And, of course, free dinner featuring an all 'Real' menu.

When: Tuesday, Febrary 20 from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: Fort Lewis College Student Union Ballroom
Cost: Free!
Nominate a Sustainability Superhero!

The Environmental Center would like to celebrate leaders in sustainability both on campus and in our greater community! We're asking for people to nominate inspiring friends and colleagues who are proudly carrying the sustainability torch. Nominations will be reviewed by the Campus Sustainability Council.

Awards will be presented at this year's Sustainability Summit - Tuesday, February 20th from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Nominate your superhero here!
Ski for the EC on 2/25 at Purgatory!

Compete against your friends to see who can rack up the most laps on our amazing home mountain. All the while, we'll have hot cocoa brewing, chili bubbling, and some tunes rocking at the base. The winner will walk away with the trophy of a lifetime, notoriety for their regional ski prowess, and amazing prizes. Snowboards allowed to ;)

To help with the fundraising side of things, you get to become a Sponsored Athlete (we know you always wanted to be one)! Round up sponsorships with your friends, family, faculty, you name it, and ask them to pledge a certain dollar amount donation to the EC for each lap that you ski. The more sponsors you have, the better!  We recommend requesting $5-$10/lap because, after all, you are a Sponsored Athlete! At the end of the night, the EC will tally your laps and follow up with your sponsor(s).

To Sponsor an Athlete, click here and fill out our super quick form.
$1 a lap, $5 a lap, $20 a lap . . . pick your pleasure! All contributions are tax exempt. Payments are not collected through this form, we will follow up with you after the event!

When:  Sunday, February 25th 10-2
Where:Purgatory Ski Resort
Cost: Registration is free.  Purgatory is offering a discounted lift ticket for event participants at $45. Lift tickets are free for anyone who has a combined total sponsorship of $20 per lap . . . and yes, your Purg Season Pass will get you on the lifts and entered into the event for free!
More EC and FLC Campus Happenings
Ecological Agriculture Summer Course Opportunity

Learn how to grow your own food and earn college credit at the same time!

ENVS 319: Ecological Agriculture is a four-week summer course. Students will take field trips to local farms, study in the campus garden, and analyze agricultural sustainability through the lens of ecology.

April 30 - May 23, MTW 8:40 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.

For more information, contact: Kathy Hilimire, ENVS, kehilimire@fortlewis.edu
Bring your (Green) Business Idea to 2018 Hawk Tank!

Fort Lewis College is now accepting teams for the 2018 Hawk Tank Business Plan Competition. Current students and recent alumni who have an idea to start a new business have the opportunity to earn up to $5,000. All majors are welcome!

Participating teams will be guided through educational workshops to help them create a plan to make their business idea viable. Teams will be matched with mentors who are local leaders in the Durango business community. Several teams from the 2016 and 2017 competitions have opened their business.  Examples include: Fields to Plate Produce, Nitrum Dynamic Paint, and the EC's own Charlie Shew with Rendezvous Doughnuts.

Entries don't have to be green or sustainability related, but we here at the EC sure encourage entrepreneurs to work to tackle environmental and social problems!

For more information visit: https://www.fortlewis.edu/businessplan/
Just a Few Be Local Coupon Books Left

We know there's plenty of places you can pick one of these up, but if you get it from the EC, you also get the benefit of supporting the work we do, in addition to all those amazing dealz!

Cost: $25 each - a portion of the proceeds go to the Environmental Center

Purchase Options: Remember, it's first come first serve, so act fast!
Books can be purchased in-person in our office with cash or check, or online.
All purchases can be picked up at the EC office, Student Union room 145.

Questions or more information, contact Marty Pool, EC Assistant Coordinator, at mlpool@fortlewis.edu
The Latest Student Perspective from the Environmental Center Blog

Art as Activism!
By Cheryn Vigil, Aesthetic Activist

"Receiving an opportunity to use art as activism on MLK day, was the perfect time to demonstrate who the Aesthetic Activists are at the Environmental Center. After hearing word about an opening to talk about how art is used to bring change, I felt the sudden urge to sign up. . ."  Read on . . .

Read more blog entries here!
Congratulations to the Old Fort for another great growing season!
Community Events & Opportunities
Local LocalHappenings
Events and Happenings in our Local Community
Participate in the Winter Business Commuter Challenge!

Enter your organization in the  Winter Business Commuter Challenge! The Business Commuter Challenge is a friendly competition among local businesses to see who can walk, wheel, bike, e-bike, bus or carpool the most during the entire week (Monday - Friday) leading up to  Winter Bike to Work Day on Friday, February 23.

Please do not include recreational bike rides, hikes or runs for exercise.

You can sign up for the Winter Business Commuter Challenge by calling (970) 375-4955 or emailing your organization's name and total number of employees to getarounddurango@durangogov.org
Chasing Coral - see it on the Big Screen!

Missed Chasing Coral on the Big Screen last December? Come support the Animas High School Interact Club with their showing at Animas City Theater. Proceeds support their service trip to Mexico!

When: Monday, February 5
Doors at 5:30 p.m. show at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Animas City Theater
Cost: $5 - tickets include food!
Labor Listening Sessions in Mancos

Join Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center and Fort Lewis College for dinner and discussion of farm and ranch labor needs, challenges, and opportunities in southwest Colorado. 

Dan Hobbs and Beth LaShell will present some initial ideas to encourage a local agricultural labor force and would like to hear about your labor needs.

When: Saturday, February 3 from 6 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: Mancos Grange, 680 Grande Ave. Mancos, CO
Cost: Free

For more information, contact Beth Lashell at lashell_b@fortlewis.edu
Animas High School Chemistry Exhibition
In Partnership with Mountain Studies Institute

Students will be displaying and welcoming feedback on their conceptual designs and prototypes of educational exhibits, many of which are related to the Animas River. The students hope these exhibits can inspire the educational space that will be constructed as part of the future Administration Building at the Santa Rita Water Reclamation Facility. 

When: Thursday, January 25 from 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Where:  Powerhouse Science Center
Cost: Free
For more information visit:
Take the Colorado River Pledge!
Did you know that all the rivers of Southwest Colorado: Animas, Dolores, San Juan and others all feed the Colorado? Help protect this valuable water basin by doing your part!

Check out the handy infographic below, then click here take the pledge! 
Opportunities Opportunities
Jobs, Scholarships, Internships, and more!
2018 Spring Job Fair Coming Soon!

Nearing graduation? Need some extra cash? In need of real-world experience? Don't miss the 2018 Spring Job Fair! 

When:  Thurs, Feb. 1, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Where: Student Union Ballroom
Cost: Free!
Who: For all majors and years in school -- Even if you just need a job to pay the bills or a summer job. Also open to alumni and the public.
Sustainability Initiative Grant

The Sustainability Initiative Grant accepts applications every February  for projects that advance a more sustainable campus.

Who can apply:  Anyone with a project to improve Fort Lewis College campus sustainability. Students, faculty, and staff are all eligible.
Deadline:  February 25 at 5p.m.
Award amount:  Applicants may apply for funds up to $2,000.
Application process:  Please complete this  application . Send completed applications with the subject line: "SIG Application" to  kehilimire@fortlewis.edu  by February 25th at 5p.m.

For more information, check out the SIG website here!
Apply to Be a Citizens' Climate Campus Leader!

Do you want to do something about global warming? Are you passionate about creating social change? Do you want to develop the skills to be an effective leader, communicator, and organizer, no matter what professional field you enter? Citizen's Climate Education is seeking students who want to be change makers to join the #PutaPriceonIt campaign and activate young people on climate change.

Find out more information and apply here!
Interns Wanted at Two Bears Farm in Animas Valley

Two Bears is a sustainable farm being built from the ground up, using inter-cropping systems and livestock to maintain and improve the land. Two Bears Farm has a large orchard and grows several crops, including industrial hemp. We also raise Navajo Churro sheep, chickens, ducks, and heritage breed pigs. An important component of our holistic farm is the interaction of agriculture, conservation, and wildlife.

The interns will learn the basics of crop farming, livestock raising, farm maintenance, sales and marketing of farm products, and the business planning essential to a successful endeavor. The ideal intern candidates will be motivated, energetic, able to think on their feet, and willing to put their in class learning into on the ground work. The work here will give the student a sense of what the homestead life would have been like.

For more information and to apply, contact Scott Perez at scott.perez1@gmail.com
Udall Scholarship for Outdoor and Environmental leaders

The Udall Foundation offers a prestigious scholarship for students seeking careers in environmental fields. Applicants should be leading change on their campus or in their community.

Up to $7,000 is awarded to 50 sophomores and juniors pursuing careers related to Tribal policy, Native health care, and the environment. Scholars get to attend the Udall Scholar Orientation in August, meeting alumni and community leaders for exceptional networking opportunities, and gain lifetime membership in a growing and active alumni network. For more information, visit us at udall.gov. 

Deadline: March 8, 2018.
Regional & Beyond
Further Resources and Opportunities
Community Organizer position in Pueblo with Protégete, Conservation Colorado's Latino Organizing Program

Conservation Colorado is seeking a full-time Community Organizer for Protégete, Conservation Colorado's Latino organizing program. Community Organizers are responsible for recruiting, training and organizing Latino volunteers on critical environmental issues facing Colorado and the nation. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of engaging grassroots volunteers through community outreach and have a genuine interest in developing individuals and community leaders. He or she will demonstrate an ability to excel in a fast-paced work environment, work well in a team, and manage his or her own time effectively. This position is an exciting opportunity to help change the power imbalances that lead to environmental injustice, and make sure that Latinos are at the forefront of the new environmental movement.

Location: Pueblo, CO
Application Deadline: February 2, 2018
Commitment: Full-time 40 hours/week

For more information and to apply visit https://conservationco.org/contact/jobs/ or contact Juan Perez, Protégete Organizing Manager, with the subject line 'Protégete - Pueblo Community Organizer' at jobs@conservationco.org
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